Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Van Rensselaer Land Dispute

There was a controversy between Philip Schuyler* and land owners/tenants, which may have included my ancestor, Edward Richmond.  The dispute came to my attention while searching for Edward Richmond in Claverack; Richmond's name surfaced in the a book about the law practice of Alexander Hamilton.
The General's [Schuyler's*] arrangements evidently did not end all these difficulties; in 1794, for example, he invoked the law in the circuit court for Columbia County to evict a number of tenants and to sell about twelve hundred acres of their farms.  
From Laws of the State of New York...:

... who are in possession of land in the town of Hillsdale in the county of Columbia of the other part relative to the right and title to the said lands so possessed and which are claimed by the said parties of the first part by virtue of the aforesaid patent... .  This concerned property of John Van Rensselaer and heirs; Alexander Hamilton and his wife, Elizabeth (Schuyler) Hamilton (a Van Rensselaer granddaughter) were among those  mentioned as the parties of the first part.

The Hamilton papers stated that the "those individuals (parties of the 2nd part) were charged with occupying his (Van Rensselaer's) without acknowledging themselves as tenants and without accepting leases."  Although Edward Richmond was not named in the original lawsuit, Charles Truesdell was.  Truesdell was named along with Richmond and two others in writs to right in the Hamilton papers.  I think that it involved the same controversy.

Apparently the land disputes in Hillsdale were so convoluted that the New York legislature appointed commissioners to sort them out.

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